Today's Law As Amended

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AB-167 High school graduation: local requirements: foster children.(2009-2010)



SECTION 1.
 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) The state has a duty to care for and protect the children the state places into foster care, and as a matter of public policy, the state assumes an obligation to ensure the health, safety, and education of children in foster care.
(b) While a good education is critical to every child’s successful transition into adulthood, it is especially true for children who spend long periods of their childhood in foster care. Research indicates that 83 percent of foster children are held back by grade 3, 75 percent are working below grade level, and only 33 percent of foster children will graduate from high school.
(c) California’s foster children are all too often bounced from placement to placement and from school to school without regard to the impact on their education. These constant transitions often result in education-related problems, including a loss of school credits, academic problems, and a delay in earning a high school diploma. Studies show high school pupils who change schools even once are less than 50 percent as likely to graduate from high school as compared to high school pupils who do not change schools.
(d) The state sets minimum high school graduation standards for the state’s school districts. However, school districts have flexibility with regard to additional coursework pupils are required to complete to graduate from high school. A foster child in high school who has taken the courses required for graduation in his or her current school district and is forced to relocate to another school district in his or her junior or senior year may be faced with additional graduation requirements at his or her new school with little time to complete those courses in order to graduate with the rest of his or her class.
(e) The key to improving outcomes for foster youth is identifying the specific roadblocks to their educational success and working to remove them.
(f) It is therefore the intent of the Legislature in enacting this act that foster children who transition to a new school district in their junior or senior year of high school only be required to meet state standards for graduation.

SEC. 2.

 Section 51225.3 of the Education Code is amended to read:

51225.3.
 (a) A pupil shall complete all of the following while in grades 9 to 12, inclusive, in order to receive a diploma of graduation from high school:
(1) At least the following numbers of courses in the subjects specified, each course having a duration of one year, unless otherwise specified:
(A) Three courses in English.
(B) Two courses in mathematics. If the governing board of a school district requires more than two courses in mathematics for graduation, the governing board of the school district may award a pupil up to one mathematics course credit pursuant to Section 51225.35. 
(C) Two courses in science, including biological and physical sciences.
(D) Three courses in social studies, including United States history and geography; world history, culture, and geography; a one-semester course in American government and civics; and a one-semester course in economics.
(E) One course in visual or performing arts, world language, or, commencing with the 2012–13 school year, career technical education.
(i) (E)  For  One course in visual or performing arts or foreign language. For the  purposes of satisfying the requirement specified in this subparagraph, a course in American Sign Language shall be deemed a course in world foreign  language.
(ii) For purposes of this subparagraph, “a course in career technical education” means a course in a district-operated career technical education program that is aligned to the career technical model curriculum standards and framework adopted by the state board, including courses through a regional occupational center or program operated by a county superintendent of schools or pursuant to a joint powers agreement.
(iii) This subparagraph does not require a school or school district that currently does not offer career technical education courses to start new career technical education programs for purposes of this section.
(iv) If a school district or county office of education elects to allow a career technical education course to satisfy the requirement imposed by this subparagraph, the governing board of the school district or county office of education, before offering that alternative to pupils, shall notify parents, teachers, pupils, and the public at a regularly scheduled meeting of the governing board of all of the following:
(I) The intent to offer career technical education courses to fulfill the graduation requirement specified in this subparagraph.
(II) The impact that offering career technical education courses, pursuant to this subparagraph, will have on the availability of courses that meet the eligibility requirements for admission to the California State University and the University of California, and whether the career technical education courses to be offered pursuant to this subparagraph are approved to satisfy those eligibility requirements. If a school district elects to allow a career technical education course to satisfy the requirement imposed by this subparagraph, the school district shall comply with subdivision (m) of Section 48980.
(III) The distinction, if any, between the high school graduation requirements of the school district or county office of education, and the eligibility requirements for admission to the California State University and the University of California.
(F) Two courses in physical education, unless the pupil has been exempted pursuant to the provisions of this code.
(2) Other coursework requirements adopted by the governing board of the school district.
(b) The governing board, with the active involvement of parents, administrators, teachers, and pupils, shall adopt alternative means for pupils to complete the prescribed course of study that may include practical demonstration of skills and competencies, supervised work experience or other outside school experience, career technical education classes offered in high schools, courses offered by regional occupational centers or programs, interdisciplinary study, independent study, and credit earned at a postsecondary educational  institution. Requirements for graduation and specified alternative modes for completing the prescribed course of study shall be made available to pupils, parents, and the public.
(c) On or before July 1, 2017, the department shall submit a comprehensive report to the appropriate policy committees of the Legislature on the addition of career technical education courses to satisfy the requirement specified in subparagraph (E) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a), including, but not limited to, the following information:
(1) A comparison of the pupil enrollment in career technical education courses, world language courses, and visual and performing arts courses for the 2005–06 to 2011–12 school years, inclusive, to the pupil enrollment in career technical education courses, world language courses, and visual and performing arts courses for the 2012–13 to 2016–17 school years, inclusive.
(2) The reasons, reported by school districts, that pupils give for choosing to enroll in a career technical education course to satisfy the requirement specified in subparagraph (E) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (a).
(3) The type and number of career technical education courses that were conducted for the 2005–06 to 2011–12 school years, inclusive, compared to the type and number of career technical education courses that were conducted for the 2012–13 to 2016–17 school years, inclusive.
(4) The number of career technical education courses that satisfied the subject matter requirements for admission to the University of California or the California State University.
(5) The extent to which the career technical education courses chosen by pupils are aligned with the California Career Technical Education Model Curriculum Standards, and prepare pupils for employment, advanced training, and postsecondary education.
(6) The number of career technical education courses that also satisfy the visual and performing arts requirement, and the number of career technical education courses that also satisfy the world language requirement.
(7) Annual pupil dropout and graduation rates for the 2011–12 to 2014–15 school years, inclusive.
(d) For purposes of completing the report described in subdivision (c), the Superintendent may use existing state resources and federal funds. If state or federal funds are not available or sufficient, the Superintendent may apply for and accept grants, and receive donations and other financial support from public or private sources for purposes of this section.
(e) For purposes of completing the report described in subdivision (c), the Superintendent may accept support, including, but not limited to, financial and technical support, from high school reform advocates, teachers, chamber organizations, industry representatives, research centers, parents, and pupils.
(f) This section shall become inoperative on the earlier of the following two dates:
(1) (c)  On July 1, immediately following the first fiscal year after the enactment of the act that adds this paragraph in which the number of career technical education courses that, as determined by the department, satisfy the world language requirement for admission to the California State University and the University of California is at least twice the number of career technical education courses that meet these admission requirements as of January 1, 2012. This section shall be repealed on the following January 1, unless a later enacted statute, that becomes operative on or before that date, deletes or extends the dates on which it becomes inoperative and is repealed. It is the intent of the Legislature that new career technical education courses that satisfy the world language requirement for admission to the California State University and the University of California focus on world languages aligned with career preparation, emphasizing real-world application and technical content in related career and technical education courses. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a school district shall exempt a pupil in foster care from all coursework and other requirements adopted by the governing board of the district that are in addition to the statewide coursework requirements specified in this section if the pupil, while he or she is in grade 11 or 12, transfers into the district from another school district or between high schools within the district, unless the district makes a finding that the pupil is reasonably able to complete the additional requirements in time to graduate from high school while he or she remains eligible for foster care benefits pursuant to state law. A school district shall notify a pupil in foster care who is granted an exemption pursuant to this subdivision, and, as appropriate, the person holding the right to make educational decisions for the pupil, if any of the requirements that are waived will affect the pupil’s ability to gain admission to a postsecondary educational institution and shall provide information about transfer opportunities available through the California Community Colleges. 
(2) On July 1, 2022, and, as of January 1, 2023, is repealed, unless a later enacted statute, that becomes operative on or before January 1, 2023, deletes or extends the dates on which it becomes inoperative and is repealed.
SEC. 3.
 If the Commission on State Mandates determines that this act contains costs mandated by the state, reimbursement to local agencies and school districts for those costs shall be made pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of Title 2 of the Government Code.